Court proceedings are set to decide the future of Norwegian Black metal band Gorgoroth as the trio, who've met insurmountable problems in cooperating, disagree on who has the right to the name
There are lots of phoneys in the sphere of Black Metal, and how could it not be so, difficult as it is to make good on Satanist manifestos of indulging in pain and finding good and meaningful that which in the normal framework of values is destructive, criminal and bad. Gorgoroth is a band whose members have not found this somewhat counterintuitive task difficult. The examples of Gorgoroth’s commitment to blackness are plentiful, but a few stand out. Such as lead singer Gaahl spending 18 months in jail for molesting a man seriously and threatening to drink his blood, and the same Gaahl applauding the burning of churches – a defining pastime for Black Metal devotees in the 90s – and expressing hopes that the activity will pick up again from its current low. Guitarist Infernus, no less of an evildoer, one could muse, was sentenced to a year in incarceration for rape in February of this year. Of third member King no such malevolent acts have transpired, he is more of a ruminative nature perhaps, but the joint effort of Gorgoroth while touring in Poland earned them a police investigation for stepping on religious sentiments with the graphic visual aspect of their live performance.
Formed in 1992 in the remote parts of Norway’s mountainous west –as is the case with more than one uncompromising Black Metal act- Gorgoroth already from the inception brought to bear a more focused commitment to evil than most bands of their genre. Their manifesto reads thus: “Gorgoroth was formed by Infernus as a strategy to perpetuate sonic and spiritual violence upon the world in order to bring forth a change in people’s perception of being therein.”
In the early stages, continues the manifesto, a lot of turmoil and shifts in the line-up bedevilled the band (Sic.) due to “lack of focus and low will among its members.” Suicide and imprisonment is also mentioned, but cannot, naturally, be categorized under low will, and seems rather like the expected kind of obstacles that transpire from the state of mind here encouraged. For, as mentioned above, it is not simply sonic and spiritual violence Gorgoroth indulge in.
This should not, however, lead one to believe that they have not also taken their music seriously. A string of records have proven Gorgoroth to be among the trail-blazing bands of their genre, not least their latest issue, 2005’s Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam (to the greater glory of Satan? (Pardon my feeble Latin)).
But now alas, the evil glue has gone dry, and the brotherhood is cracking up. Gorgoroth have issued a statement that internal differences, of what kind is not revealed, have made it impossible to continue as a trio. Gaahl and King will continue however, and still under the Gorgoroth banner. First of all they will complete the ongoing tour of Europe with a stand-in for Infernus, and they say they will also continue to work together under the name of Gorgoroth in the future. It is only fair and right they claim, as the two have been the driving forces for the past years. But Infernus the founder, disagrees, and has warned that he will take his former satanic comrades to court over the matter.
As matters now stand the fate of Gorgoroth is uncertain and in the hands of lawyers (that other class of professionals doomed for the inner circles of hell as Woody Allen aptly has put it). Notwithstanding this, the tour of Europe will indeed proceed as planned, and Gaahl and King have given warning of a new album in the making. Sessions have begun, and the record will be out next year. Under which name remains to bee seen….